Humanities Instructor Adam Sampieri (in blue) works with online students on how it feels to work in an ensemble.

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Unravel, Assemble, Pitch: Online students meet for innovative orientation

NCSSM Online welcomes its largest-ever incoming class of 200 high school juniors from across North Carolina this fall, evidence of the program’s growing popularity and reach. In July, 120 of those students attended a three-day orientation on campus. The session helped students “think of their future selves,” says Chris Thomas, academic coordinator for NCSSM Online. Using the app Sched, students could choose from a number of elective sessions such as an ensemble workshop with Drama Instructor Adam Sampieri, courses on research in the STEM disciplines, and a class on how to teach STEM subjects to young students, a service option open to online students.  

New this year, the students worked in small groups to build a display answering specific questions about a social challenge. The Unravel, Assemble, and Pitch challenge went a long way in encouraging interaction, collaboration, and problem solving, says Kendall Hageman, director of distance education. 

“We asked groups to research and identify one or more ‘regional problems,’ meaning an issue that affects a group of people larger than their local community but smaller than a global community,” Hageman says.

The groups were then randomly assigned to a problem (other than the one they identified). Armed with a box of scrap supplies, they were given a total of five hours over the course of three days to build a display that answered the following questions:

Challenge results​

1st Place: Team 1

2nd Place: Team 19

3rd Place: Teams 4, 20 and 22

People’s Choice (voted on by their peers):

1st Place: Team 15

2nd Place: Team 16

3rd Place: Team 5

Unravel, Assemble, Pitch https://t.co/nYPm80O2Dm 16: Visualizing the drop in teacher pay in NC @NCSSM pic.twitter.com/fdDMv10hmz— Kendall Hageman (@Kendall_edu) July 23, 2016